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From Britain to Berlin: A Business Journey with MBJ

MBJ is more than your average web design company.

The brainchild of Julian Badalurage and Toni Horn, MBJ started off with humble beginnings; providing social media and business consulting to small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs). During this time it was soon noted that many SMEs lacked the time and internal resources to manage and run their web presence, and it was apparent that a more long-term service was needed that would endure beyond the initial design and developmental stage. In 2011, MBJ was founded with the aims of helping clients go digital- by providing Website as a Service (WaaS). For an affordable monthly subscription, their team of experts act as a guide through the preliminary stages of branding and design; websites are tailor-made to the specific needs of the client, through to development and launch and beyond that, maintenance; the IT aspects are kept running smoothly and content up-to-date. In short, clients can rest assured knowing all aspects of their web presences are fully taken care of. Representing MBJ, Nicole Rodriguez says,

“It’s inevitable that most business owners are just too busy growing their business to worry about constantly caring for and updating their website. And we just don’t think businesses should have to be their own IT managers. Our goal is to take that stress away from our clients. We manage everything on our end and provide clients with a monthly executive summary report with an overview of analytics and suggestions.”

Founders Toni Horn and Julian Baladurage

Founders Toni Horn and Julian Baladurage

While previously headquartered in London, MBJ recently made its transition to Germany, opening offices in Berlin. Speaking on their motivations for the move, Rodriguez noted the city’s reputation for innovation…

“The perception of both Berlin as a city and having a base here is quite a positive thing. It’s a forward-thinking city with an enormous pool of creative talent that we are excited to tap and work with. It seems clear that moving forward, in the next five to ten years, there is going to be a lot happening in Berlin. For a company like MBJ, it’s important to be present while things are taking shape and evolving in order to contribute to the positive strides.”

…and opportunities…

“Berlin, and Germany as a whole has a huge SME market so we know we are going to be able to appeal to and help many businesses come online.”

And with Brexit being on the horizon…

“Being able to hire the best international and diverse talent is incredibly important. With Brexit, there were too many uncertainties in the UK, particularly when it came to hiring and visas. For MBJ, opening an office in London’s rival start-up hub, Berlin, is a plan that provides long-term flexibility.”

However, the move has not been without its challenges. As Rodriguez advises;

“The incorporation process in Germany is way more complex and time-consuming than in the UK. It’s important to have a clear understanding of what you are getting into since the legal framework in Germany can be much more rigid than in a lot of places. Aspects like accounting can be pitfalls for employers, so it’s important to be well informed. Also, know how you want to incorporate. Once you go one route, the German bureaucracy may not be so forgiving.”

And on what helped in the relocation;

“Having Berlin Partner assist us in the incorporating process was indispensable. There are also quite a few amazing German government grants geared at young talent and innovative companies that Berlin Partner helped inform and guide us towards.”

Today, MBJ is not merely going strong, but expanding; on top of its current foothold in the UK and now, Berlin, the company is opening offices in the USA. Not too shabby at all for a company that launched a mere five years ago!
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